The Salt Mines

20 03 2019

Cologne

Some of the big issues for me professionally in the last month:

Article 13
Returning ISIS Fighters
Huawei
Bundeswehr
Utrecht
Billy Six
MEP Elections
Permanent Summer Time (DST)
Hambacher Forst
City funded drug usage lounges (and I thought Portland, Oregon was nuts)
Brexit me, Brexit me not
Yellow vests
Weltweitfrauentag hypocrisy
AKK

 

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And They Wonder Why Anti-Americanism Is a Big Thing In Germany

6 03 2019

Berlin

So typical of American mainstream-ish media articles about German military policy and spending, oblivious to the obvious.

Goes like this:

SHOT: America to Germany: You’re not allowed to have much of a military.

CHASER: America to Germany: Why aren’t you spending more on your military?

HANGOVER: The answer to this paradox is that Washington wants Berlin to buy more stuff from Boeing, just like Roman Emperors occasionally shook down imperial subjects, vassals and protectorates for tribute.

 





Figure Eight

28 02 2019

Cologne

I finally made it back yesterday night after my more than a month on the road.

I won’t belabor the point much, but here’s the map:

So you can see that, other than the diversion to Munich, which I almost forgot I had to do, but all it meant was delaying my arc through northern Germany by a few days, and having to wait in Berlin for a few more, it kinda looks like a figure eight.  Note that I used straight lines between the major stops, instead of letting it plot via the major roads.

The path was Cologne -> Berlin -> Warsaw -> Lodz -> Warsaw -> Krakow/Wadowice -> Silesia -> Cottbus -> Berlin -> Munich -> Berlin -> The northern arc.

A few points:

(1)  I did Lodz after, not before, Warsaw.  One of the days I was in Warsaw, I and a few others had the side trip to Lodz to meet someone literarily special.  I’ll leave it at that.  A few of you might be able to figure it out.  (Speaking of literature, yes, my review of The Witch Elm is coming shortly.)

(2)  Krakow and Wadowice, mainly for the Pope John Paul II tourist traps.  Krakow is so far my sentimentally favorite Polish city.

(3)  Between Wadowice and Cottbus in Germany, was what used to be the German region of Silesia.  Wroclaw (fmr:  Breslau) the region’s capital, both then and now.  While the region is unquestionably Polish today, thanks to ethnic cleansing, I do see that there is a very small percentage of identifiably German (and German-speaking) people that remain in the various cities we either stopped in or passed through on our way through Silesia.  For some reason, they or their parents or grandparents must have been able to hide from the Soviets.

(4)  Mecklenburg-Vorpommen was the only German state I had not been to, but that’s done now.  Furthermore, since I visited Kiel, the capital of Schweig-Holstein, and also Schwerin, the capital of M-V, (more on that in a moment), I’ve now seen every state capital, except for Erfurt in Thuringen, and that I’ll see in October, when I’m there for the Thuringian state elections.  Erfurt is also the only Luther-themed city I have not yet seen, that being the host of Martin Luther’s academic alma mater.

(5)  Schwerin Palace is now my absolute favorite edifice where public administration happens, nowadays it hosts the M-V state legislature, even though it was obviously not built for that purpose.  It may also be my favorite man-made habitable edifice that I’ve ever laid eyes upon.  Lübeck was my favorite city in a holistic sense along the northern Germany arc.

(6)  Saw the Baltic and North Seas from the coastline for the first time, even though I’ve obviously flown over the North Sea.  Also the mouth of the Elbe and Weser Rivers as they drain into the North Sea.

(7)  Perfunctorily set foot in Denmark, near Flensburg, just to be able to stamp Denmark on the passport.  For about an hour, there was something rotten in Denmark.  Interestingly, since the official border between Germanic states slash unified Germany, and Denmark nee Jutland, has shifted back and forth, north and south, over the centuries, it means that there is a rough ethnic transition between Germans and Danes in that region.  Meaning there are double contingents of ethnic minorities of the other country near what is now the border on both sides.  Flensburg itself has a big percentage of ethnic Danes.

Denmark is the only new country I logged on this trip;  I already was in Poland even if perfunctorily during the summer voyage.

(8)  A return trip to Bremen, to check on someone.  He, like me, is someone who is recovering well after a severe head injury, but will never truly be the same again.

(9)  I now think I’ve seen more of Germany than at least 90% of all Germans.  I think the two biggest cities I have not yet seen are Chemnitz and Augsburg.  I already mentioned Erfurt as the only capital I haven’t seen.

(10)  This trip marks both the farthest north (Krusa, Denmark) and the farthest east (Warsaw) I’ve ever been.

But now, I’m back in good ole Cologne, with no big traveling in sight for awhile.  And I can officially reveal some good news, which I will with my next post.

 





Great Hispanic Voter Tidal Wave

27 02 2019

Chicago

The top two finishers in yesterday’s election for Chicago mayor yesterday to replace Rahmbo, who will face each other in a later runoff, are both black women.

That made me think of something I’ve already realized:  Chicago is a third Latino, yet the only obviously Latino sounding name finished in fifth place with nine percent.

It’s the ZOMG GREAT HISPANIC VOTER TIDAL WAVE LOL~!!!!!1

It’s almost as if one of the real secret subversive purposes of mass Latino immigration is the importation of a proletarian buffer constituency to help secure the political power and privilege of certain traditionally ambitious political groups against potential and hypothetical rivals.

Notice that in California, where finding Latinos is like finding hay in a haystack, there are hardly any Latino elected statewide office holders?  Instead, the political and electoral consequence of mas Latino immigration in the state has been white and Jewish liberal Democrats winning, and white normiecons and traditional black “I’m black y’all” political types losing.  In Chicago, Latino immigration (and technically also internal migration, thanks to Puerto Ricans being automatic citizens) has resulted in the established city machine, Jews (Rahm) and blacks being able to box out completely the political ambitions of non-rich gentile whites, all the while, the Latinos themselves don’t actually win much power on their own.

***

Here in Germany, while there are plenty of non-whites, the non-white voting rate is so low that it’s barely above the Mendoza Line of statistical significance, and rarely is marginally important in the binary outcome of elections.  The main reason there are any non-white elected officials at all is that the kinds of political parties that existed before 2013 pull out the pathological altruism of affirmative action style efforts (*) to promote non-white mystery meat, who wind up winning and benefiting from just the natural consequence of Union, SPD, Left, Greens, etc. winning elections based on ingrained voting habits of actual Germans.  As a small example, the CDU is going to run some non-Muslim south Asian woman as its party leader for the next cycle of the Hamburg parliament elections, and would become the equivalent of the mayor of Hamburg should the CDU either win outright or be able to assemble a coalition with itself as the leader.  Point being, the party leadership is shoving her to the front, and she’ll only become mayor based on actual Hamburgers (lol) voting CDU out of pure loyalty, plus whatever voters it purloins from other parties, or independent types, or from the previously non-voting universe.  If there were party primaries here, she would have no chance.

I think the reason the non-white voting universe here is fractionally small is that the non-whites are as a tendency and group post-1969 immigrants, and the immigrating groups are, like American Latinos, not big into voting or formal political participation.  Turks and Latinos are comparable in a lot of ways.  That, and Germany never had anything like American blacks or South African blacks, centuries-extant lumpenproletarian racial groups that were made to realize the power of the franchise (“–“) and the severe disadvantages of not having it, and the advantages of having it once it was extended to them.  Which means that, for example, Obama could turn out black voters, esp. middle aged and elderly women, in 2008 and even more so in 2012, and Nelson Mandela could have black people lined up for hours to vote for him in 1994.  But the here, the SPD can’t rely on Turks like that.

(*) – As such, Germany doesn’t practice affirmative action in a formal sense.  The rough equivalent of “affirmative action” in German is Aktionsprogramm, but it has contextual meaning and practical application well beyond just race-based hard quotas or soft affirmative action.  However, I have seen and heard the term Quotenneger used here and there, pretty close to saying “quota black” or “affirmative action black” in American English.





Two Pompeos In One

22 02 2019

Washington, D.C.;  Berlin;  Baghdad

Guten Abend aus Lübeck.  Probably my favorite city in a holistic sense so far in this my northern Germany arc.  Yesterday I was in Schwerin, saw Schwerin Palace, which is now my favorite building used for public administration.  Though it was not designed for that purpose.  These days, it hosts the state legislature for Mecklenburg-Vorpommen.

Now, onward and downward, we have two Mike Pompeos in one:

NYT:  Alabama Woman Who Joined ISIS Can’t Return Home, U.S. Says

DW:  Germany mulls US demand to take back ‘IS’ fighters captured in Syria

Though the DW article doesn’t mention Pompeo by name, I can assure you it’s his baby.  And he’s the very inconsistent, and dare I say, hypocritical, common denominator.

I’ll add that, without really giving that much away, the White House is split on the politics of the second matter.





Excuse to Ski

16 02 2019

Munich

Yes, I’m here.

Or rather, I was.  I’m not bothering with the third day of this shindig, because I have other places to be, and I’m catching the train outta here very shortly.  As it is, I had to delay my Northern Germany arc for a weekend in order to go to this thing.

OTOH, it was my first time back in Munich since Oktoberfest and the Bavarian state elections, and I’m now three-for-three in terms of Munich making me happy.

As far as “this thing,” the Munich Security Conference, it’s really easy to explain:

It is the sort of event where nothing ever gets done, but everyone comes to because everyone else comes to, meaning anyone who wants to be someone has to be here to network. And most importantly, to hit the nearby ski slopes and ski resorts, in this, the peak of the Alpine ski season.

Just not your Blogmeister, though.  No can ski in a wheelchair.  (Though as far as that goes, I think I’ve got some good news, but I’m going to wait until I get back “home” to reveal it here, just in case it’s fleeting.)

In another note, in me having to wait for two days back in Berlin before coming here to Munich, but after making my way through Poland, the Berlin Film Festival was going on, and I figured WTH, and went and watched Mid90s and Skin.  It was my very first film festival.





MPGA Hat

22 01 2019

Your Blogmeister’s German Desk

Tomorrow I hit the road again, for about a month.

The two main stops will be Berlin and Warsaw.

In spite of what I’m doing here, and in spite of something I did in Berlin over the summer voyage meant that I now have the job that I have living where I now do, I neither have to live in Berlin, nor have to go there that often.  Which is fine by me, because I’m indifferent about Berlin as a city.  I don’t love it, and I don’t hate it.  The big issue with modern day Berlin is that it’s flopping around like a fish out of water trying to find an identity.  In spite of being the national capital, it’s not really a government town, because German Federal agencies are rather spread out well over the country, many of which were in Bonn during the wall and curtain days are still there to this day.  Otherwise, Berlin is just Germany’s biggest collection of people in one place.  It’s there because it’s there.  And by all geographical rights, a city that big has no business being there, where it is.  But, I can assure you it’s there.  And there is where I’ll be for several days starting tomorrow.

Berlin’s status as a capital city goes back to Prussia being the spine of German unification.  Berlin was the capital of the Prussian state starting in 1718, before that it was Königsberg, which as you know is no longer even German.  So it was only natural that the Prussians running a unified unitary German nation-state starting in 1871 would make Berlin its capital.  I told you back on Unity Day that a subtext of the politics of German reunification were the politics of the national capital, and that, while moving the Bundestag back to Berlin did happen, the politics were nowhere near unanimous, the substance was not consummate, and the process was not instantaneous.  I’ll add now that, if you get many German political types into an honest moment, they’ll wish that the capital was still in Bonn.  And I can understand why:  The Rhine-Ruhr Region is where Germany happens, the place that will either make you or break you if you have national ambitions.  Which is the main reason why I live there.  For better and worse, past and present, Cologne is the Germany-iest city in Germany.  It’s also why the first and what was for quite awhile only high speed rail service in Germany was Frankfurt-Cologne, in order to shuffle people back and forth between the international airline hub and the largest city in the most important region.

While I’ve already been to Poland, more or less perfunctorily over the summer, this will be my first time going to what has historically been Polish territory in terms of ethnicity, even if not in terms of statehood.  And no, I’m not taking my Make Poland Germany Again hat with me on this trip.

After I’m done with my secret mission in Warsaw, I’m going to take in the Pope John Paul II cities of Krakow and Wadowice, then from there, take in the parts and various cities of northern Germany I have yet to see, including getting to Meckelburg-Vorpommen, the only state I have yet to clinch, and touching toes in Denmark in order to be able to stamp it on my passport.  When that’s done, I think I will have seen more of Germany than probably 90% of Germans have.

And I’m hoping for a really slow news month starting now.